Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers: Five Players to Watch
Julius Peppers, Outside Linebacker, GB
January 18, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) comes under pressure from Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Julius Peppers (56) during the first half in the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Julius Peppers left the Windy City for Frozen Tundra of Lambeau last off season, and he had an impressive debut season with the Packers. Peppers started all of the Packers’ 18 games last year, and finished with a total of 9.5 sacks between the regular season and playoffs. Not bad for a 34-years-old player.
The Packers used Peppers in many different ways on the field, and he still showed the ability to get to the quarterback on a consistent basis.
Now at 35-years-old, the Packers will be looking for more of the same from Peppers. Whether it be at defensive end or outside linebacker, Peppers is the second-most important pass rusher in the Packers’ defense, trailing only behind Matthews. With Matthews expected to play many different roles for the Packers again this season, Peppers will be the primary pass rusher some of the time.
Simply put, if the Packers are going to get consistent pressure on the opposing quarterbacks this season, they are going to need another fantastic performance out of Peppers. He is not the same physical freak that he once was, but Peppers still seemed to have plenty left in the tank last season. That being said, at his age, it goes fast. The Packers however, cannot afford for him to lose it this season.
When lined-up over Bears’ left tackle Jermon Bushrod, I like Peppers’ chances. Bushrod is not exactly an elite left tackle in the NFL, and pass blocking has been his biggest issue in recent years. However, if Peppers is going to try to rush against Long, he will likely have a tougher time.
Regardless where he is lining up, the Packers need Peppers to put pressure on Cutler and the Bears’ passing attack. Say what you want about the Bears’ offense, but they have some legitimate talent. If Cutler is given an opportunity to sit back in the pocket and make plays, the Packers’ defense may be in for a long day.
I will have a close eye on the veteran Peppers in this game.
Next: The Secret Weapon in Bears' Passing Game